Dragons’ Den tycoons break show record by pledging £2.1 million to contestants in new series

The stars of BBC One's business reality show have broken their previous record for the most money invested in contestants' businesses.

Dragons' Den

The stars of Dragons’ Den have broken the show’s investment record by offering over £2 million to new businesses in its upcoming series, the BBC has announced.

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Series 18, which begins tonight on BBC One, will see a number of wannabe tycoons pitch to the dragons, who pledged £2.1 million in total – an increase of almost 10 per cent from their previous record.

Longtime dragon Peter Jones in back in the den, alongside Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Tej Lalvani and Sara Davies, all of whom were “in no doubt” the pandemic increased the calibre of contestants, “who upped their game in terms of appearance, pitch spiel and confidence”, the BBC wrote in a statement.

The broadcaster also revealed that applications to appear in the new series were up by a fifth, with a 42 per cent rise in female entrepreneurs appearing on the show and business owners from a BAME background up by a third.

Jones, who was one of the first Dragons and has pledged approximately £6 million during his time on the show, said: “The pandemic has driven a lot of people to look for different sources of investment particularly digital businesses.

“The quality of the pitches has really gone up a level this year, it really hit me how good they were. It’s been a pretty tough time being in lockdown, but it has given people more time to think and reflect.”

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The series, hosted by Evan Davis, has led to a number of businesses finding domestic and global success over the last 16 years, with companies like Hungry House, Destination London, the Tangle Teezer and Trunki becoming money-making products after pitching to the dragons.

Dragons Den airs tonight at 8pm on BBC One. While you’re waiting visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight or visit our Entertainment hub for all the latest news.